California Farm Animals Get Celebrity Support

Sept. 3, 2008

 (Bloomberg) -- Dogs and cats living in Los Angeles have plenty of company these days: sheep, chickens, pigs and Brahman cows. As immigrants from Latin America and Asia pour into the city, they often bring farm animals with them. That has led to clashes with animal rights advocates, including Hollywood celebrities, who fret about the creatures' living conditions. And then there are neighbors who raise a stink over barnyard sounds, sights and smells.

Local authorities say they seized 1,623 farm animals in the 12 months through June because they were being abused or neighbors complained, which is 45 percent more than in the previous year. One man was charged with cruelty and neglect for keeping 120 barnyard creatures including sheep, goats and cattle, without adequate food, water and space. Advocates are urging the city council to tighten animal regulations.

``When people have farm animals in backyard situations because they care for them, that's great,'' said actor James Cromwell, 68, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his 1995 role as a farmer in the movie ``Babe.'' ``But when they can't afford to keep these animals, or they abuse them or ill-treat them, when they don't understand their needs and sort of abandon these animals, that is horrendous.''

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